The Power of ERP Analytics
Manufacturing shop floors are quickly becoming more sophisticated than ever. Now, production managers have every machine on their line Wi-Fi enabled and hooked up to the Internet of Things (IoT), and the information available to ERP systems is expanding in leaps and bounds. It’s no surprise that the demand for accurate and smart ERP analytics is growing. By collecting data on all aspects of a company—front and back office—businesses can monitor key performance indicators and use those stats to drive the critical business decisions that affect the bottom line. Why wouldn’t you be looking for sophisticated analytics software?
Many businesses have previously relied on outside business intelligence (BI) software for their shop floor data, or have invested countless amounts of money in expensive customizations and add-on analytics tools to bring the kind of intelligence needed to their pre-existing ERP systems. Often, these prohibitive costs have blocked the benefits of ERP data reporting from small to midsize businesses that must be selective with their tech budgets. So, time for some good news. Sophisticated data analysis functionality is quickly becoming a standard feature present in most modern ERP systems—and those ERP systems are becoming more affordable with cloud options and subscription-style pricing. So, why should your business, no matter the size, be interested in leveraging the power of ERP analytics for your own business?
One of the most obvious reasons for the rise of ERP analytics and data processing is the new speed at which businesses can manage, track and understand their operations. With ERP data, businesses can access real-time information from a business-wide scale right down to individual customer transactions. For example, tracking shipping and receiving will make inventory management a breeze and also ensure sure that you are moving the right product at the right time to meet your customer’s needs.
Key performance indicators for your ERP system will obviously look different for every separate business, manager and shop floor, but there are the common and obvious indicators. These can include machine count, downtime and Overall Equipment Effectiveness—the usual mainstays in any shop floor report. If you're an aerospace and defense manufacturer, you face more stringent regulations than most manufacturers, requiring you to keep a closer eye on compliance rates. If you’re running a customer-focused eCommerce business, shipping times and return processing will be high on your list. It all comes down to evaluating your specific business processes and needs and then determining how to build an ERP analytics strategy on top of them. However, when you really drill-down on that reporting strategy, the results can be magical.
Drive Critical Decisions
One of the most beneficial end results of the proliferation of real-time ERP analytics is the software’s ability to present that data in meaningful dashboards and charts. Instead of staring at a bunch of numbers on a spreadsheet until you go cross-eyed trying to figure out how to make them useful, an ERP analytics module will be able to present your data in an instantly meaningful way—and you can build and customize those dashboards so that they give every individual employee the information most meaningful to them. Those key performance indicators we mentioned above will be the numbers on which you build a business plan and by which every single employee will understand their individual impact on the bottom line and end product.
Sustainable Revenue Growth
Too many fast growing businesses can get caught up in expansion and quickly let that growth get out of control. One second you may be raking in profits and deciding to manufacture new products and cater to new markets, only to find in the next second that the infrastructure to support the new functionalities and workflows simply doesn’t exist. Suddenly, there’s too much money sunk into projects that simply aren’t tailored well enough to the business and employees that aren’t familiar with your processes. This kind of untenable growth often comes about thanks to a lack of company-wide transparency. If your departments work in silos, project leaders won’t realize that certain areas of the business have bitten off more than they can chew before it’s too late.
However, with the capacity for real-time ERP analytics becoming common, transparency becomes easier. Anyone can access mission-critical data any time you need, on any process or machine in operation. By installing a multitude of sensors on your shop floor production, connecting them to the Internet of Things, and then to your respective ERP system, you can actively foster greater transparency within your business. All production processes and tasks will be logged into the same system and accessible to any employee on the ERP system (and any remote employee too—if you’re hosting within the cloud). Decision makers will have total knowledge of the company infrastructure and how to grow revenue properly without sacrificing other key pieces of the puzzle. With this kind of information, your company can expand production output (in size or across facilities) while still keeping a firm hand on all operations.
Stellar Customer Service
Sophisticated ERP analytics allows businesses to get a tighter grasp on their in-house operations, providing sales teams with access to real-time information about shipping capabilities, inventory levels and delivery times. All of these kinds of figures can be leveraged to close sales on the spot and keep clients happy enough to keep coming back. Your ERP analytics will also be able to help you drive promotions targeted towards forecasted demand or seasonal patterns in buying habits. An ERP system will be able to process all of your past transactional data and create reports to help you target the right goals in the future. If there is a certain area of your inventory that has been lingering a little too long, you’ll know that something needs to be done to move that product faster. Or, if something else is flying off the shelves too fast to be replenished, your ERP system can alert you to this deficit and kick production lines into high gear to match the higher demand. It’s high powered ERP analytics like these that can help you drive the business decisions that will keep your bottom line growing and your customers happy.
Real-time ERP analytics and data processing isn’t just a luxury reserved for the big multi-national companies with billions of dollars to pour into their software budget anymore. Now, the capability to gather and report thousands of different business factors is becoming standard in many different kinds of ERP modules and packages and affordable for even small, emerging enterprises.
If your company is interested in finding ERP that can give them this power and support the rest of their business needs, get in touch with Datix today! Datix is an Epicor Platinum Partner with 20 years of experience helping businesses find and implement the perfect software for them. Our ERP consultants can help you out too.